Costa Rica: Historical Overview                                         


1502        The explorer Christopher Columbus                      arrived in Costa Rica while on his fourth                 a last voyage (below).

1600's      Initial attempts at colonizing Costa                     Rica by Spanish explorers proved                         unsuccessful due to a combination of             factors, including disease,heat,           resistance by natives, and pirate raids.


The permanent settlement of Cartago was established in the cooler, fertile central highlands. The area remained a colony for about two and a half centuries.


Costa Rica became one of several Central American provinces that jointly declared their independence from Spain.


Costa Rica joined the United Provinces of Central America.


The United Provinces of Central America dissolved and Costa Rica proclaimed its sovereignty and independence.


There have been only two brief periods of violence that have interupted the country's democratic development.


Costa Rica dissolved its armed forces. Although it still maintains a large agricultural sector, Costa Rica has expanded its economy to include strong technology and tourism industries. The standard of living is relatively high. Land ownership is widespread.


Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez (below) won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in ending the Nicaraguan civil war.


Costa Rica's political stability, high standard of living, and well- developed social benefits system set it apart from its Central American neighbors. Costa Rica has made tremendous progress toward achieving its goal of providing universal access to education, healthcare, clean water, sanitation and electricity.